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Old 12-04-2019, 10:41 PM
RobbyBobby RobbyBobby is offline
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Introduction and Ask

Hello, my name is Robert and I am A Owner...

I would like to ask for your help.

I am new to Atomic Four. Become owner of one by very recent inheritance of 1977 Catalina 30.

This engine was working fine for first 3 nm, or 45 min. Next just stopped. No warning signs, no overheating. Just stopped. I got towing service and spent the rest on my journey relaxed. of course I want to fix it. No experience with gas engines, moderate with diesels. Here is what I am getting when attempting to start the engine. Video link
https://youtu.be/Lw2EMC_4paw

What do you think? Thank you very much for your thoughts and comments

PS. I am dedicated to learning about my new power house, already purchased the Service and Overhaul Manual and.... decommissioned engine
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:12 AM
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Robert,

Welcome to the forum! There are lots of knowledgeable people here, willing to help. All you have to do is ask.

As for your problem, the video sounds like fuel starvation. You'll need to start with the tank, and work your way to the fuel pump and then the carb, checking for clean fuel and good flow and pressure all along the way. Once that is done, the carb should be disassembled and cleaned. This is not a difficult task, just a little daunting the first time.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:44 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Could also be an overheating coil that stops working when engine and engine bay temperatures raise. Try to swap for a new one.

Welcome to A4 home... chaps on that forum are extremely helpful!
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:18 AM
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Al Schober Al Schober is online now
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Robert,
Both previous answers are correct.
Dying abruptly after about 30-45 minutes is classic for a coil failure. You should carry a spare. They're not expensive and not hard to replace.
Video sounds like a fuel issue - the engine is trying to start.
So, which is it?
Recommend you carry a can of starting ether. A short blast will tell you whether you have spark failure (engine just cranks) or a fuel issue (engine start and runs on the ether for a few seconds).
Strongly recommend you establish and maintain a clean fuel system. Start with the tank by pulling a sample (a gallon is plenty) from the bottom of the tank. The fuel pickup for the engine does not go to the bottom! Not sure of your tank arrangement - with my Tartan 30, access is through the fuel fill with a length of copper tubing. A small hand pump or outboard primer bulb will pull out a sample. Once the tank is clean, you can work back towards the engine.
The original stuff is 40 years old, and is all suspect. Fuel hoses rot and shed flakes, filters corrode internally, etc. And all the debris ends up clogging filters, causing valve failures in the fuel pump or float valve, or plugging jets in the carburetor. You can spend a lot of lost sailing time tracking this stuff down.
The Atomic 4 is a good engine. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:21 AM
tmcdonagh tmcdonagh is offline
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Introductions and Ask follow up

The suggestions you have received sound reasonable to me. I suggest you carry a spare oil pressure sensor also. If your motor has an electronic fuel pump, the oil pressure transducer was added as a safety precaution. If the sensor dies, the motor will not start. One can jump the sensor but it’s best to carry a spare. I speak from experience.

Good luck and keep us posted. We all learn from posted questions such as this.

Tom
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:52 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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In the video it looks me that the key is in the on position (~.25 - .35). The key should not be in the on position unless the engine is running or the coil will be fried. The only exception is when trouble shooting it is OK to leave the key on for a minute or two.

Neutral on an A4 can be elusive. It is somewhere between forward and reverse - assuming no problems with the transmission that is. Neutral on your boat is not where you think it is. Each engine is a bit different. Once you get the engine running move the shift lever back and forth till you find neutral.

TRUE GRIT
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:45 PM
RobbyBobby RobbyBobby is offline
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Thank you very much

Dear edwardc, Surcouf, Al Schober, tmcdonagh, John Cookson,

Thank you very much for your time and replies. It feels encouraging and overwhelming in the same time. Let me combine your advices in workable algorithm, read some theory to fill my lack of knowledge, and put gloves on. I will keep you posted about the progress.

Thank you again, it feels good to have such great guys someone, in this case me can rely on when in trouble.

Robert
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:19 PM
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RB, welcome. I have a '77 C-30 also. I knew jack-$#!t about an A-4 when I got the boat 10 years ago.

We can help you through it. We will get into some deep details, but they are all important. As Al noted, fuel lines, filter(s), what the PO did or did not do, elec/mech pump, etc.etc.etc. Be patient with the questions, we will help find the answers!

One comment on the video - There is no real neutral..the whole assembly is a friction plate/clutch pack thing, so sometimes "neutral" will drag the shaft..next time try the shift lever a little more aft...I have found on mine, "neutral" has a little whine in the gear assembly..you just need to find your sweet spot..do not be concerned with this for now.

Why it won't keep running is the next step! - Some more videos and pics of the fuel system will help. Most of the fuel system is on the port side of the engine, so let's have a look! What we are looking for is whether you have an electric or manual fuel pump, the condition/age of the fuel lines, are there any additional filters (the 77 C-30's only came with a pitiful screen in the mech fuel pump, a lot of us have added additional filters) does the boat you have a fuel pressure gauge (added by the PO, not stock) and other things. Each of these write a page in the story of the fuel system, and we will work thru it with you!
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Last edited by sastanley; 12-05-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:15 AM
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RB, Welcome !! As you have seen lots of good people here with lots of knowledge that are here to help and share what they have learned.

My only add would be careful trying to get it started with the water intake open. If you are cranking the motor over with the water in take open and its not starting you can get your self in trouble as the motor needs to run to blow the water out the exhaust.

good luck, you are in good hands,

Chapster5
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:58 AM
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RobbyBobby, Welcome to the group. Your story sounds very similar to mine ten years ago. After acquiring my '78 Catalina 30, I motored about 8 hours from San Pedro to Marina Del Rey. By that time the A4 was barely running. I spent the next day replacing the fuel filter, and cleaning the electric fuel pump and carb. The amount of debris was absolutely disgusting. What we have found is that some of these older boats, that have sat for several years and have never seen alcohol laced fuel, react very negatively to this "solvent" being poured into their tanks. Several fuel filters later and after replacing the "non alcohol rated" fuel lines, my engine ran dependably with no more fuel issues. As you have already learned, having your engine basically sitting in the middle of your living room, makes it quite easy to work on.
Tom
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:33 AM
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Please provide as many close up pictures of all sides of your engine as possible even if it takes more than one post (forum software limits us to 5 pics per post). It will answer a lot of early questions we have and speed the process along.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:45 PM
Dave Neptune Dave Neptune is online now
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on a limb

Robert, first a welcome. Watched the video and I don't think it sounds like fuel. The beastie starts right up and sounds good at elevated RPM's and then coasts to a stop.

Don't keep cranking unless the water is shut off!!!!

The first thing I would try is to hot wire the engine and see if it keeps running. Could be a lot of things in the electrical system and most will be bypassed with the "hot wire". Could even be the "S" terminal on the starter which is hardly ever used with the newer single voltage start sequence. Not as complicated as it sounds.

If you do use the "hot wire" be sure not to leave it hooked up for any length of time, it's just like leaving the switch on and a fried coil will result.

As it fires right up I doubt the coil is bad since it dies almost immediately.

Dave Neptune
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:01 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Neptune View Post
Robert, first a welcome. Watched the video and I don't think it sounds like fuel. The beastie starts right up and sounds good at elevated RPM's and then coasts to a stop.
Dave Neptune
Yes.

Sounded to me as if the engine ran as long at the key was in the start position but would not run when the key was in the run position. May be something as simple as the key. Check the voltage at coil + when the key is in the run position.

TRUE GRIT

Last edited by JOHN COOKSON; 01-30-2020 at 08:14 PM.
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